An active-duty Marine Corps officer has been arrested for participating in the Trump-inspired riot at the Capitol in January, marking the first arrest of any active-duty service member in connection to the violence, although reserve and National Guard members have already been charged over the riot. The newly arrested Marine, 40-year-old Maj. Christopher Warnagiris, has been dealt criminal charges including assaulting or otherwise blocking the work of law enforcement officers and obstruction of justice.
According to the Justice Department, Warnagiris “violently entered the Capitol on Jan. 6, after pushing through a line of police officers guarding the East Rotunda doors,” and he held open a door allowing other rioters to access the inside of the Capitol. At one point, a Capitol Police officer “tried to pull the doors shut,” the Justice Department says, but Warnagiris “can be seen pushing the officer in an effort to maintain his position in the open door in security camera footage and publicly available video footage.” As such, federal authorities have instituted the charge covering assaulting officers.
Warnagiris is stationed at Marine Corps Base Quantico, and Marine Corps spokesperson Maj. J.A. Hernandez commented as follows after his arrest on Thursday:
‘The Marine Corps is clear on this: There is no place for racial hatred or extremism in the Marine Corps. Our strength is derived from the individual excellence of every Marine regardless of background. Bigotry and racial extremism run contrary to our core values… Participation with hate or extremist groups of any kind is directly contradictory to the core values of honor, courage, and commitment that we stand for as Marines and isn’t tolerated by the Marine Corps. Those who can’t value the contributions of others, regardless of background, are destructive to our culture, our warfighting ability, and have no place in our ranks.’
The Defense Department has set up a working group that has been tasked with the responsibility of exploring pathways for handling extremism and potential extremism in the ranks of the military.
Meanwhile, former President Trump has continued to push the lie that inspired the rioting in the first place, claiming — without any meaningful evidence whatsoever anywhere in the country — that the presidential election was somehow rigged for Biden. No court has ever accepted this notion. Republicans have continued providing space for these delusional lies to the point that, this week, House Republicans voted to remove Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) from a position of party leadership over her refusal to go along with the false rigged election claims.